Apocalyptic events caused by aliens, bingo nights that involve the loss of one’s soul…par for the course in B horror land. However, it may not bode well when a major horror studio attempts to make a formula of B films somewhat halfheartedly. All I’m saying is this film would struggle to compete in terms of action and thrills when compared with an actual night of bingo.
Gigi Saul Guerrero
Following the opening of a new neighborhood bingo hall, the residents of a community begin to realize there are extra strings attached to the games.
In a tight-knit neighborhood, busybody Lupita’s guard is up when she hears car enthusiast Mario has missed an appointment for one of his beloved vehicles. She may be onto something, as the nature of Mario’s disappearance is much more disturbing (and green ooze-filled) than expected.
Lupita is tough as nails, a proper neighborhood matriarch. From her son’s struggles with addiction to her husband’s recent death–no to mention those damn hipsters–Lupita has a lot to be angry about. She usually ends up being right, though her bluntness has caused rifts in some friendships.
Noticing a flashy car hanging around and flyers promoting a neon-lit new bingo hall (previously owned by Mario), Lupita’s feathers are further ruffled. Confronting the new owner’s attempts at gentrification, Lupita’s plan to present a united front backfires when Mr. Big (seriously) can offer to make the bingo players’ dreams come true.
Even as things get twisted in a monkey’s paw kind of way, more and more bingo players return to make a deal with the sketchy owner/manager. After Lupita uncovers the truth about Mario’s disappearance, she decides one final confrontation is in order. But who will call bingo first?
2/5 Pink Panther Heads
Talk about a shaky house built on shaky foundations. The plot is flimsy, and the silly B-movie title and premise don’t even try to live up to the levels of schlock we should get. This feels at best like an episode of Goosebumps, at worst an after school special about the evils of gentrification. Which, by the way, Lupita seems to backtrack on & take away the message that you should just give up and move as long as your community leaves with you?
Most disappointing and glaringly obvious to me is the lack of a compelling, menacing, or even just over-the-top villain. Mr. Big is super boring, and I still don’t understand at all what he was doing and why. It was implied he was running some kind of deal with the devil, but was he the devil? Was he working for the devil? Are there not less convoluted ways to harvest souls?!?!
Lupita was cool as hell, but fairly one-note. Spoiler if you care–when she learns of her son’s death, the film gives her about 10 seconds to process this. Effectively, it feels like she has no emotional reaction whatsoever to this news.
I will say the quality of the set design and acting is above average for a B horror. And I do appreciate that the definition of community in the movie is essentially fist fighting a demon together. However, we don’t get enough demons, enough Lupita badassery, or even enough bingo when all is said and done.
As I have to remind myself frequently, they can’t all be Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark.